The Honors Program in English begins with the student's application in the second semester of the junior year and extends through the entire senior year. A challenging intellectual adventure, the process involves proposing, researching, discussing, writing, revising, and publically presenting a thesis or project. Students in the program also take two honors courses (English 498 and English 499) in the senior year and work throughout the year with their project Director, an assigned Reader, the Program Coordinator, and the writers' group of other honors candidates.
2013 English Honors Majors
- 3.5 major GPA at the time of application and graduation and 3.2 overall GPA
- 10 courses in the major (including courses required of all majors)
- 2 additional courses: English 498 and 499
- Creative thesis writers are expected to take a writing course in the appropriate genre if one is offered in the senior year (e.g., an advanced creative writing course from the McGee Professor); critical thesis writers are also expected to take courses relevant to their fields of inquiry
- To earn Honors, students must achieve a grade of at least B+ in both English 498 and 499
Prerequisites for Application
- GPA 3.5 in major; 3.2 overall
- Appropriate course work in proposed field
Form of Application for Critical Theses
- Maximum 2-page (double-spaced) topic proposal accompanied by the Honors Application Form
- Writing sample (maximum 5 pages)
- Due first week in May (precise date TBA)
Form of Application for Creative Theses
- Maximum 2-page (double-spaced) document in which candidates identify the genre or genres in which they propose to write, list those contemporary writers whose works inform their own writing, and briefly detail their aesthetic concerns and literary interests
- Writing sample (maximum 5 pages of poetry; 10 pages of prose)
- Due first week in May (precise date TBA)
Evaluation of Applications
- The evaluation meeting is conducted by the Honors Coordinator with an identical process for each applicant.
- Proposals are discussed and accepted by departmental vote using the following criteria: prerequisite course work, quality of proposal and writing sample, willingness of a faculty member to direct the proposed project, and comments from faculty
- End of May: The Coordinator notifies those admitted to Honors
Thesis Length Requirements
- Critical thesis-- 9,000 to maximum of 15,000 words, including notes (but not bibliography); the Director, Reader, and student should agree, by the beginning of the Spring semester, on the word limit that seems appropriate for the project.
- Creative thesis--maximum 45 pages for poetry, maximum 90 pages for prose, maximum 60 pages for drama, maximum 30 minutes for films
English 498 (Fall Semester) and 499 (Spring Semester)
Project Requirements and Timetable
||The Coordinator notifies those admitted to Honors
||Reader chooses 2-3 books, and the Director can take that number up to 10; the books are to be read by Oct 1; the Director sends the reading list to the Student, Reader, and Coordinator during the first week of July; if there are field-reading-responses, they go to the Director, Reader, and Coordinator
|First week of classes
||Director, Reader, and Student meet to establish ground rules; the Director calls the meeting; Student and Director meet for weekly tutorials; they both also meet at least three times during each semester with the Reader to discuss the progress of the project
||Exam on/conversation about the first half of the reading list would take place during English 498 for both critical and creative thesis writers; the exam is scheduled by the Coordinator; the exam/conversation can serve as the second meeting of the student's committee; the next set of ten books is agreed upon, following the procedure from July 1.
|(Around) Nov 15 - Early December
||The 498 Fall Colloquium is held in late November/early December. Students give 8-10 minute presentations, followed by formal question and answer period for each project. The audience consists of honors students, Directors and Readers, the Honors Coordinator, English Department faculty, and interested English majors
||First 1/3rd of thesis due; content to be determined by Director. This 1/3rd project draft is read by the Director, the Reader, and the Honors Coordinator
||For creative writers only: Exam on the second set of up to ten books conducted during English 499; the students also contextualize the first third of their own project and thus suggest to the whole committee some helpful ways for talking about what is still in the process of being created; the proportion of "project situating" to field exam is agreed upon beforehand by Director, Reader and Coordinator
||Workshops conducted by the Directors during English 499 (Readers attend especially if they have not met with Students during Spring semester)
||Second 1/3rd due
||A complete draft of the project is submitted to the Director, Reader and Honors Coordinator in the second week of March; written responses on the thesis draft by Director, Reader, and Honors Coordinator are due back to the student within 14 days but certainly before the English 499 Spring Colloquium in late March or early April
|Late March - early April
||Spring Colloquium for the creative writers (who read) and scholars (who either read the high points of their theses or extemporize); Students give 7-10 minute presentations, followed by a question and answer period. The audience consists of all Directors and Readers, the Honors Coordinator, prospective Honors applicants, and other interested English majors and faculty.
||Final Project Due
|April 22-May 7
||Defense for the scholars, including the second half of the field exam; the proportion of defense to field exam is agreed upon beforehand by Director, Reader, and Coordinator
|Last week in April; first week in May
||As part of 499, there are private, 1-hour defenses of critical theses in late April with the Director, Reader, and Program Coordinator; examiners may ask candidates to situate the work(s) under consideration in their projects against the second half of their field reading; the proportion of "project situating" to field exam is agreed upon beforehand by Director, Reader and Coordinator
Honors Program Coordinator 2012 - 2013: Professor Zoran Kuzmanovich
TASKS FOR APPLICANTS:
Review your current transcript, including course work and GPA calculations. Consider what you have studied, what you wish to pursue more deeply and independently, and how your intellectual and creative interests might benefit from the Honors process which includes both a writing component and a public performance component as well, demonstrating your mastery over your subject.
Talk with your advisor about the way Honors will complement your development as an English major; seek guidance from the current Program Director, Professor Kuzmanovich.
Discuss your emerging ideas with potential Directors of your thesis or project. A Director should have expertise in the area you want to pursue and should be available for the yearlong project. You should have taken courses in the same area. Feel free to talk to other English faculty; they look forward to talking with you and will suggest an appropriate Director if they are not available for the job.
Attend the spring Honors Colloquium and the Honors Information session (TBD) and send Professor Kuzmanovich a one-sentence statement of intent via email by early April (TBD).
Construct a 2-page topic proposal (for the critical thesis) or descriptive document (for the creative project) that adheres to the application requirements. Contact Professor Kuzmanovich with questions or for advice as you write this document. The proposal will be read by all the members of the English Department faculty, many of whom will not be familiar with your work or with the specifics of your proposed project, so present your proposal in clear, concrete, and accessible language.
Select a writing sample to accompany your 2-page proposal document. This work should showcase your verbal abilities and reveal you at your intellectual and creative best.
Turn in the Honors Application Form, your proposal, and your writing sample in hard copy to Professor Kuzmanovich. Collate and paper clip, but do not staple the pages.